Parents describe 'heartbreak' after beloved Felpham play park burned to the ground

Felpham parents have described their ‘heartbreak’ after Longbrook Park was burned to the ground last week.

“It’s awful to see. It’s so sad.” Said one Felpham resident, a mother of two, who asked not to be named.

"For my nieces, my nephews, that’s where we go with them over the summer. My children are grown up now, but that’s where we spent all our time with them growing up. So it’s heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking.”

According to a spokesperson for Sussex Police, the play park was burned down at 10.05pm on July 27. The park’s equipment was so significantly damaged that it is not expected to reopen for the rest of the summer. Officers are treating the blaze as a ‘deliberate ignition.’

Longbrook Park was burned down last week

West Sussex Fire and Rescue teams from Bognor Regis attended the scene and, on arrival, found the play park ‘well alight’. By the time the fire was extinguished, it was completely destroyed by the fire – charred wooden remains were all that was left of the pirate ship at the centre of the park.

The blaze comes after an extensive refurbishment to Longbrook Park, which saw old equipment replaced or updated. For that reason, parents don’t know when, or if, the park will ever reopen.

"I can’t imagine that the council will be in any hurry to rebuild it,” one parent said. “It could just happen again, so why would they spend all that money to repair it?”

A spokesperson for Arun and Parks Greenspaces said the fire was ‘disappointing' and that they hope to rebuild the park later this year.

After attending another deliberate fire in Heywards Heath, the fire service has issued a warning about wildfires in the summer.

Matt Gamblen: West Sussex Fire and Rescue’s wildfire tactical advisor said: “Despite temperatures declining since the heatwave, the ground is still extremely dry and we strongly advise that people refrain from starting fires outdoors. It doesn’t take much for these fires to spread to nearby undergrowth, or even worse, buildings and properties.

"“Starting a fire deliberately is incredibly irresponsible and wastes both your time and our time. More importantly, it could prevent us from quickly attending an emergency incident where we are needed most, perhaps involving your loved ones.”

Read more